Yesterday, I got flagged down by traffic cops for steering my car across the yellow line in the middle of the road. I was bemused, because I don’t think any Delhi driver regards it as a traffic violation.
I pulled over, and lowered my window. The constable asked me whether I knew what I had done; I said yes. “That’s a fine of Rs. 1100”, he said, and asked for my driving licence. I handed it over, and while entering my name into his machine, he paused and said – “I was transferred to traffic duty 6 months ago, and you’re the only person I’ve met who admitted to making a mistake, without argument”.
That’s a crazy comment on our city, I thought – 2 minutes at a traffic crossing, and you can document 10 traffic violations, but people do not want to be told they’re in the wrong.
“I’m glad you’re trying to enforce the yellow line”, I told the constable, and handed over 3 five-hundred rupee notes. “Wait,” he gestured with his palm.
“Insaaniyat ka javaab insaaniyat se karna padegaa”.
(Civility must be reciprocated by civility).
He busied himself with his machine, and then looked up – ” I’ve issued a ticket for driving without your seat-belt. That’ll be a hundred rupees.”
Here was a completely different comment on our city, one you don’t hear often – an uncivil populace, and a charming, sensitive man in uniform.